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Proceedings Paper

POINTS: A Small Astrometric Interferometer In Space
Author(s): Robert D. Reasenberg
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Paper Abstract

Numerous astrophysical objectives could be achieved with an astrometric instrument able to measure the angular separation of a pair of widely separated stars with an uncertainty of a few microarcseconds. An instrument that could make tens of measurements per day would form the basis for a multifarious scientific program. Although more complex, an astrometric interferometer offers a substantially larger information rate than a comparably-sized astrometric telescope for most applications. POINTS (Precision Optical INTerferometry in Space) is a design concept for an astrometric interferometer originally conceived as a means of performing the light deflection experiment of general relativity to second order. The present "strawman" version, which has a pair of 2 m baselines and four 25 cm telescopes, would fit fully assembled with a support spacecraft in one-third of the Shuttle bay. For a pair of tenth-magnitude stars about 90° apart, POINTS would yield the separation uncertain by 5 μas after a 10-minute observation. We consider both the design of the instrument and aspects of a mission.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 February 1986
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 0571, Large Optics Technology, (21 February 1986); doi: 10.1117/12.950414
Show Author Affiliations
Robert D. Reasenberg, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0571:
Large Optics Technology
Gregory M. Sanger, Editor(s)

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